The frog lure below was entered into the vintage tackle contest by Joseph Schirrman, who found it in the bottom of his father’s old tackle box. According to Dr. Todd Larson of the The Whitefish Press and “Fishing For History” blog, this lure helps tell a very unique story about the craftsmanship and craftiness of American anglers in the early- to mid-1900s.
Dr. Todd says:
“We consider any fishing lure made to catch fish but not manufactured for sale to be a folk art bait. This is exactly what you have here, and what a nifty one at that! Folk art lures date to the 1910s through the 1950s and came about because the United States was a nation of builders and fishing lures were a luxury to the vast majority of common folk. So these folks visited their local hardware store, saw the brand new shiny lures, and went home and whittled a lure that copied or was inspired by the original manufacturer’s bait. One of the most popular categories of such lures are folk art frogs, and yours is a real beauty–clean design, honest wear, and colorful paint job. Super great. I judge the quality of a folk art lure by whether it looks like it would catch fish, and this one fits the bill nicely. I’d value it at $30-$50, but as a piece of Americana it is priceless.”
Joseph, I’d say that’s a pretty inspiring lure. It kind of makes me want to bust out an old penknife and whittle my own frog just to see if it would catch a bass. Congrats on a great find! You’ve got a Cabela’s 50th Anniversary Fly Box and Fly Assortment headed your way.
If you’ve already sent me photos of your vintage tackle, keep checking every Thursday to see if I chose it for an appraisal by Dr. Todd. If you haven’t and want to enter the contest, email photos of your old tackle to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with your name, mailing address, and story of how you acquired the gear. If I use it in a Thursday post, you get a Cabela’s 50th Anniversary Fly Box and Fly Assortment (below, $50).